Seafarers Stuck In China Set To Sail Back


The 23 crew of the ship MV Jag Anand have lifted anchor, and cleared to sail and reach Chiba port, Japan by January 14…reports Asian Lite News.

In glad tidings, 23 Indian crew members aboard the ship ‘MV Jag Anand’ stuck off China for over six months, were allowed to set sail for a port in Japan on Saturday evening, the National Union of Seafarers of India (NUSI) said here.

NUSI General Secretary Abdulgani Y. Serang said that these crew members, along with their counterparts on another ship, ‘MV Anastasia’, were stranded off the China anchorage since six months.

“The 23 crew of the ship MV Jag Anand have lifted anchor, and cleared to sail and reach Chiba port, Japan by January 14. The crew change will take place there and after completing the Covid-19 formalities, they will start on their return journey to India,” Serang said.

The NUSI is hopeful that the crew of ‘MV Anastasia’ also shall be accorded similar clearances soon as their anxious families in India await their return.

After having been at sea for more than 18 months, and in the clutches of the global Covid-19 pandemic, the seafarers on both ships literally found themselves on a ‘floating prison’ as they were unwittingly caught in a political tussle between China and Australia even though many were ill and needed urgent medical attention.

In Mumbai, Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi had strongly taken up their cause with the Centre after which the Indian government followed up the issue at the diplomatic levels, culminating in the latest development and their return to the country soon.

Several of the crew members are from Mumbai, Thane and Palghar regions of Maharashtra and their families and other seafarers made a series of appeals to the Centre right up to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, demanding his intervention to secure their safe passage home.


Naveen Jindal, the Chairman of Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL), has offered his help towards bringing back the 39 Indian sailors stranded in Chinese waters. Jindal has offered to buy coal for the ships in a bid to aid their return.

Two carriers, the ‘Anastasia’ (IMO 9625970) and the ‘Jag Anand’, owned by India’s Great Eastern Shipping Company, which were transporting Australian coal to China, arrived in Chinese waters when trade tensions were underay between China and Australia. Eventually, China banned the import of Australian coal.

The Indian seafarers are stranded in Chinese waters for months now.

The matter came to light after reportedly one seafarer recently committed suicide as he was denied permission to return home to look after his ailing wife and two sons, who were diagnosed with Covid-19.

Taking to Twitter, Jindal wrote on Friday: “This is a humanitarian crisis: 39 Indian sailors stranded at Chinese ports for months; were carrying coal from Australia to China. We are ready to buy the coal on these ships if it can help bring our sailors back home.”

The tensions between China and India arising in the past one year have also added to the problem. Vessels flying flags of other countries have been permitted to upload similar bulk cargo while these two with Indian flags have not been given the same permission.

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